Time to put nuts on the menu: a new study reveals that regularly including nuts in one’s diet slashes the risk of dying from any cause (that is, total mortality), as well as from the specific causes of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
In March 2012 I shared with readers in my blog Going Nuts that regularly eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (walnuts/almonds/hazelnuts) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals by 30 percent. This diet change, if followed closely, could potentially allow people to cut out the use of statin drugs (but, of course, talk to your health professional before stopping any medication).
Now here we are less than a year later and it’s clear that the benefits of “going nuts” go beyond heart health alone. The researchers in the current study took a close look at the diets of nearly 120,000 people (relying on data gathered in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study) and checked in with these people every two to four years to see how their diet changed over a 30 year follow-up period.
When nut intake was singled out, the results were clear and impressive: eating nuts more frequently was inversely associated with total mortality in both male and females. Drilling down deeper with this data, the nut-lovers also experienced fewer deaths from the specific causes of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
Nuts provide healthy fats, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals. And it turns out that concern about weight gain from nuts is unfounded; several studies show that regular nut eaters tend to be slimmer than those who eschew nuts. So enjoy any nut (peanut, pistachio, almond, walnut, and so on) that strikes your fancy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about a handful a day (1.5 ounces) is the right amount.
What do you think
I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.
Stephen C Vogt, PharmD
President and CEO BioPlus SP
Bao Y, Han J, Hu FB, et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. New Engl J Med 2013; 369:2001-2011.